For our recent celebration of Earth Day, the Pre-Kindergarten students have been using recycled materials to build. Many of the children displayed an interest in space, so the PK teachers took this opportunity to practice teamwork in a fun and motivating way. In order to create a “rocket ship” and “a space station”, the class had to employ many of the KCS Habits. Building together alongside their engaged teachers developed their already emerging cooperation and collaboration skills. It began when the PKs themselves brought in recycled materials from home, providing a meaningful home-school connection, further enriching their collaboration experience. They were then able to brainstorm about what they would like to create – an activity requiring patience, listening skills, and the ability to take on another’s perspective. This is no small feat when you are three years old, but developing these skills in the realm of play makes for a safe learning space and only good ideas!
After their structures were built, the children were given the opportunity to add paint, glitter and open ended art materials to their structure. The purpose of this was not only to make it look beautiful, but to add further meaning to something that the children worked on themselves. Engaging their senses and tactile experience, this step of the project also fostered focus, persistence and their individual sense of self within a group: a skill that will last them a life time. The “rocket ship” and “space station” were completed, but the children carried the learning from that experience into their everyday play, by re-enacting the building process, singing about taking a trip to the moon, and turning their play dough into “a rocket ship”. Recreating what they have seen, heard and learned, they are making meaning in their world.
This past week was National Volunteer Week and Earth Week. The thing about celebrating weeks like this is that we hope that we raise awareness of important ideas. What we really hope will happen is that those ideas spread!
We have Earth Week activities at KCS:
Walk to School Wednesday
Turn off the Lights Thursday
Fill your Water Bottle Friday
Grade 7 service learning students reminded classes about energy conservation, water conservation, recycling, rain forest preservation, and more.
Grade 1 students participated in workshops presented by older students about water conservation and recycling.
Grade 2 students read books, wrote poems, and made posters about helping the planet.
Grade 3 students planted seeds and prepared soil experiments.
Grade 4 and 6 students cleaned up the school grounds and surrounding areas.
Grade 5 students will be calculating their eco-footprint using a carbon footprint calculator online.
Grade 7 students did a creative assignment about sustainable happiness. Sustainable happiness is ‘happiness that contributes to individual, community and/or global wellbeing and does not exploit other people, the environment, or future generations.’ (C. O’Brien)
Grade 8 students viewed Sharkwater, a film about sharks, their habitat, and the effects of humans on their ecosystem.
What we hope will happen is that our community learns about being friendly to the environment. We hope that they incorporate green habits that they will have for their whole lives, not just during Earth Week. We show this by having green habits integrated into our daily lives at KCS.
Similarly, we love and appreciate our volunteers at KCS! We don’t wait until volunteer week to thank them! Increasingly, our students are volunteering in our school and in the surrounding community. Once one person tells others how they volunteered to help, many of their peers are willing to join in the joy that comes from helping others. We are grateful to them and proud that they are making a difference.
Here are some of the many ways that students are volunteering:
Mentoring younger students
Providing lunch leadership to younger students
Leading chapels and assemblies
Conducting tours of our school to guests
Making gift baskets for local women’s shelters
Helping at a local church fundraiser
Refereeing basketball games for Special Olympics Ontario
Teaching younger students at figure skating
Caring for neighbours when they are sick
Sorting food at a food bank
Helping seniors at a retirement home
We hope that students see volunteering as one of the habits that they continue to do well after they have left KCS. We don’t have green habits only during Earth Week. And we don’t just volunteer or thank our volunteers during National Volunteer Week. But here’s to the happy future that comes from the habits learned at KCS!